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COOP (Chicken Owners Outside Philadelphia)
COOP (Chicken Owners Outside Philadelphia)

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COOP News Vol. 4 No. 3, July 6, 2009

Welcome to Summer 2009 everyone!

coopnews_v4_3

YEAR 2 NEW EGG LAYERS

Well, the new girls are starting to go at it. I think Lauren and Maddy's Ameraucana was the first, followed by Amy and Jordan's Ameraucana, and now Lisa and Laurie's Welsummer has been laying eggs for the past several days (see pic — hers is the dark spotted one). You go girls.

ON THE SUBJECT OF NEW EGG LAYERS...

I got a call from Lauren yesterday. She couldn't find Rae Rae, her laying hen. Did I have any ideas? While we were on the phone she continued to look, and finally found her. In her own words:

So turns out Rae Rae was hiding in the lilies on a whole nest of eggs — six of them! All the ones she'd laid since those first three we got out of the nest box, I guess.

One was a whopper: 2.2 oz (compared to 1.4 for the rest).

I took them all away and put two of them into the nest box where she'd laid before. She has no interest in sitting on the two, but I'm hoping they'll entice her back to the nest box.

I will watch that spot now, see if she lays more there. Funny, if I hadn't absently wandered down to the end of the porch while I was talking with you and started pulling out some weed vines that were growing up from the lilies below — I don't think I'd ever have found her. She was way back against the wall — and well camouflaged among the dead day lily leaves! I'd already looked there from ground level.

COOP PARTY AT THE SHEASLEYS

Thanks again to Bob and Suzanne for the wonderful COOP gathering at their farm. The food was yummy, the pond was beautiful and relaxing, the company was great and oh, there were chickens? Boy, were there ever. We had to leave before the bonfire but I heard it was a lot of fun. Please send pics (or links to pics) if you have them!

ON THE SUBJECT OF FOOD

The food at these potlucks is SOOO good. I would like to recommend that everyone write out or better yet, email me the recipe for the food you bring (or have brought) to the potluck. I would love to put together a recipe section on the COOP website.

NEXT COOP MEETING?

Anyone want to host the next gathering? It might be hard to pin down a date because of the summer and vacations and such. Maybe sometime in mid-August or after Labor Day (or on Labor Day?), although if we're going to do Coops for a Cause in September (see below) it may be hard to coordinate all that getting together and stuff. Anyway, if anyone in interested, holler.

NEW COOP NAME?

It has been suggested that we should think about changing our name to include chicken owners inside as well as outside Philadelphia. I love COOP and would hate to lose that. Maybe Chicken Owners OF Philadelphia? But does that lose the suburbs? Anyone with ideas, please have your say. Of course, we would never turn anyone away. Maybe we just need to make a nice bold statement on the website saying as such.

MANURE INSTRUCTIONS

I recently put 6 bags of chicken poo on Craigslist and got rid of it all. If anyone needs to get rid of poo I have poo connections I'd be glad to share :) Also, check out the page we put together with composting instructions.

FEED — HOW MUCH ARE YOU WILLING TO PAY?

How much do people pay and how much are you willing to pay for feed? Organic? Non-organic? Don't care? Mash? Pellets? No preference?

SHAVINGS

John Fiorella has a tractor trailer full of wood shavings from his wood shop. He's willing to let us go there one day and bag and take away as much as we can. He says it's about 80% shavings and a mix of pine, walnut, mahogany, etc. He uses it in his own coop but is willing to share. Anyone interested? I'd be willing to spend as many hours as it took to fill up a friend's cargo van. Let me know. Thanks for the offer, John.

NEW MEMBERS

I'd like to welcome the following folks who have joined since the last Newsletter:

  • Stephanie and Ben Fields and their kids Jacob and Cara — 2 Rhode Island Reds, a white leghorn, a brown leghorn, and a buff orrington
  • David Siller — from Weaver's Way co-op
  • Megan and Mike Hollinger — friends of Kristina and Andrew's; just getting chicks now!
  • Jesse Howe — Runs the Glenside Farmer's Market (eggs and honey), very supportive of the whole COOP idea; has 25+ Rhode Island Reds
  • Eileen Byrnes and Peter Beetle — East Oak Lane, 9 layers of different breeds and 10 Pullets; will be giving up a few layers this fall once the younger ones start going

COOPS FOR A CAUSE

I need to know who would be interested in putting their coop on the Coops for a Cause tour? Also, check your calendars in September and let me know which Saturdays and Sundays you are available.

I've researched four different tours (links below) and heard back from one of them. It looks like most of the open houses run for about 4-5 hours, charge between $10 and $15 and have about 20-25 coops on the tour.

People buy tickets ahead of time. We could sell tickets at the Glenside Farmer's Market and Weaver's Way.

The woman who got back to me from Raleigh said they started with 7 coops their first year and now have 25, sort of in clusters to allow for ease of getting around, and that she had 300 visitors to her coop, and over 600 on the tour this year. Whole Foods approached them to sponsor and provided t-shirts, lawn signs and printed up the maps.

I saw that another group limited their ticket sales to 50. We may want to do something like that as well.

Let me know — this could be a cool fundraiser and great way to spread the word about chickens.

ECONOMIST ARTICLE

As promised — thanks Margot!

Keeping poultry in cities: Checking out the chicks

IN FLUX

It's been an odd few months around here. The rain was unbelievable, flooding the coop yard several times despite my efforts of rototilling and mixing in bag after bag of sand. Our egg count was way down — from 114 in April to 67 in May and just 60 in June. At least a dozen shell-less eggs were "laid" by our older hens.

We integrated 10 new chickens, including two roosters, into the flock. The roosters started crowing in late May and have been really horny and aggressive the last few weeks.

Oh, and one of the Buff Orpingtons, Nanshe, went broody 7 weeks ago.

But, things are looking up. The weather has been beautiful for at least a week. The roosters have been isolated from the hens and pullets, allowing the girls some much needed rest. I started giving the girls yogurt every morning (45% calcium) and they've been eating the oyster shell again. Their shells are getting strong and Frigga and Ishtar have laid an egg every day for the past 9 days. Today, I put 4 (hopefully fertile) eggs from Ron & Carolyn's gals under Nanshe in hopes she'll hatch out her own little brood and get off the damned nest, and one of the Welsummer pullets crouched for me today. She should start laying soon.

Thank the gods it's Summer!

~3:> Nancy